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Old 04-08-2010, 04:38 PM
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Default The city

Just a reflection I wanted to share, done while coming back home.

Try this if you live in a big village or a city. Look someone straight to their eyes, and they'll look down or somewhere else to avoid it. Smile to someone at the street, and they'll ask you "Are you stupid or what?". Try to meet someone with a warm "How are you?" and they'll answer you a cold "Who the f*ck are you?".

You'll say it's completely normal, but the fact is that we're all strangers of ourselves in the city. We have no connection with the rest of the world, alone yet surrounded by millions of people. We don't like to know about the neighbor. And everybody has a bitter face while walking down the street.

I miss some closeness and caring in there. As in the small villages, where everybody knows everybody, and the trouble of one is probably matter of someone else too.

Don't you?
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:44 PM
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This is evident to me. I live in the smallest village imagineable, no more then 300 people but I commute into the biggest city in Scotland every day.
In my village I am proud to say that I know everyone and speak to them, even if it is a cursory 'Hi, how you doing?'. But when I am in Glasgow, I notice that the people shuffle past you so close, too close for comfort, not looking at you for more than a split second, usually with iPods in. It's odd but that is the way of cities

I also have to say that I love the idea of moving to the city and living with new friends I've made at University but I would definately miss the sense of community in my village. Here, people my family knows just stroll into the house and we have a good conversation over tea or coffee. My friends can walk in and out whenever they choose as we don't lock the doors (Note: this is not an invitation to find me and rob me ) and I can do the same. In fact, this close knit community has grown over several villages in my area. We are truly a community
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:23 PM
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Yes I agree with you ZenitYerkes, the sense of community has been largely lost in cities. Odd for a place where people come into contact more often than in a smaller community.

Generally where I live, I know most of the people in the area so I always say "Morning" or "Hi, alright" to them, even if I don't know them. I try to do the same in the city as well, but like you said, it is often replied to with a weird look or a smirk as if there's something wrong with me, and that makes me very, very sad indeed.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:30 PM
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I agree that people are not as friendly in the city. It depends upon where you go though. In the city I live it, even though it is large, there is still kinda a small town feel in some places. People do smile and say hi, etc. Sadly, we don't know our neighbors. I hardly see any of them. The other sad part is the suspicion. The crime rate is increasing here so more and more people are suspicious of others. They don't need to be. I take the bus every day and the same people are typically on the bus but everyone is so quiet. I admit that I am shy in public and that might contribute to it. Also, there are people who are sleeping or listening to their ipods or talking on the cell phones. Everyone is doing something else but they are not connecting with each other .
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:22 PM
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I agree, but I disagree on a few levels as well. A big part of it is courage. It's hard for most to strike up a conversation with complete strangers. It also varies a lot from place to place. Every big city has a different set of conditions. For example in New York I find that people tend to be more outwardly rude, but are much more willing to talk. Here in Los Angeles people will actually smile, but it's much harder to actually get into a conversation.

I find that it's easier if some kind of unusual shared experience occurs. It can work to break the ice to get some words flowing. I sure do it a lot, but I hate waiting in silence. It's very uncomfortable for me to sit there. An example would be waiting for a doctors appointment. I find that the time goes a lot faster if I talk to those around me. I am only rarely successful though.

Try to work on the empathetic connection thing and it will help you identify the one out of ten that are actually willing to talk. They are out there, you just have to find them.
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:34 PM
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It's true...

I live in a fairly large city, the thing is, around here 95% of people are ones I really would not want to talk to, but even with people who seem fine, people who might have things in common, we just walk past each other.
The exception is actually when sharing an experience though - many of my good friends, I have met at pubs or gigs, although I think a large part of that was being drunk - it gets people actually talking to each other.

One other thing that really depresses me though is the light pollution - on most nights, I can't really see the stars, or just a few of the brightest ones maybe
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:43 PM
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The city I live in right now (what it's called, more like a medium size town) has a population of about about 10,000 with a very low population density. In a way it shares both the quality's of a small close knit town and a large urban center. For the most part everyone you meet is very friendly if you approach them, and would help without you asking if you were in trouble. Even though people are nice, they do seem a bit standoffish at first. I attribute this to the fact that most peoples homes are on large heavily wooded parcels, and it's possible to live in your house for many years without even knowing what the next-door neighbors house looks like let alone get to know them. If you were to stop some random person at the store to say hello you would get a friendly hello back and not a "F*** Off" but you gotta be the one to take the first step.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:20 PM
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I have noticed this lately. Especially when riding the school transport over to campus, people get on and immediately plug in the ipod, pull out their phone, read a book, anything to avoid confrontation with others. We go to class and everyone sits in silence almost afraid to make any noise. Makes you miss back when we were younger and didnt car what anyone thought. When everyone in class was a friend. Now you can hardly get anyone to enter into a conversation!
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:37 PM
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I am thankful that my hometown is a village of about 500 people, just about everyone knows everyone and its great, too bad im at University now, the city scares me somewhat lol I feel more comfortable deep in the bush than what I do in the city centre
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:52 AM
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Yeah I'll have to admit that I prefer the suburbs over the city..even so you barely get more than an occasional wave or smile, and their normally from the elderly migrants.
I remember looking at this in behavioural science in uni..when we get densely packed in cities or other areas we adopt defensive mechanisms to preserve ourselves..I suppose we avoid confrontation since we are fearful of strangers and what they might do to us..

I watched something a while back..and these scientists made a guy lie down on a footpath in london facedown and not move..It took 3 hours for someone to actually check if the guy was okay..When they tried that in a village..it only took within 10 minutes..
I'd love to live in a small community *sighs*
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  #11  
Old 04-09-2010, 06:56 AM
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I've noticed this too... another thing that really bothers me is when someone walked through where I work, I look and say, "good morning, how are you?" and they'll reply "I'm good, how are..." they walk into the next room. It's like, I don't even know. It's really frustrating, and it happens all the time and with different people too
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:20 AM
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Ugh I hate that too! They start to engage in the conversation, or more likely just automatically reply back as they continue to walk away. Id rather they just give me a nod than just act like they will talk and walk away.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:02 AM
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That is one of the things I like about living in small village of around 100-150 people. Even though I'm only 18, when I walk into local restaurant there is someone that I know and could start up a conversation with. I walk into the gas station, I visit with the cashier, I wave at most people I pass on the street, its really nice, but in a larger city nearby people do their best to not be friendly, not hold doors open, help you if you drop something, barge in front of you, not say excuse me when they need past, I mean common courtesies that is common in small towns are non-existent in larger cities according to my observations. That is one of the reasons I want to stay living in the country.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:15 AM
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The weird thing is, even though living in my city really makes me feel depressed sometimes, sometimes I like it. I know people here who are my friends and who I wouldn't know if I wasn't here, and there's almost always something going on, somewhere to go out. I haven't really been out as much recently, but it's still something I find important.

As always, the Na'vi have the right idea about groups of people living together though.
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Old 04-10-2010, 06:26 AM
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I live in one of the largest cities (population) in the United States, and although there is the cold reactions, there are also warm ones. The thing is a lot of my city is suburbs, and when I'm out running or biking along the river if I wave to someone or say "Hello" I get a generally friendly response. When I'm out walking my dog I can actually talk to someone else who I come across walking their dog.
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